Imatges de pàgina

All things that move and breathe with toil and


Are born and die; revolve, subside, and swell. Power dwells apart in its tranquillity

Remote, serene, and inaccessible:

And this, the naked countenance of earth,

On which I gaze, even these primeval moun


Teach the adverting mind. The glaciers creep Like snakes that watch their prey, from their far fountains,

Slow rolling on; there, many a precipice,
Frost and the Sun in scorn of mortal power
Have piled: dome, pyramid, and pinnacle,
A city of death, distinct with many a tower
And wall impregnable of beaming ice.
Yet not a city, but a flood of ruin

Is there, that from the boundaries of the sky Rolls its perpetual stream; vast pines are strewing

Its destined path, or in the mangled soil

Branchless and shattered stand; the rocks,

drawn down

From yon remotest waste, have overthrown
The limits of the dead and living world,
Never to be reclaimed. The dwelling-place
Of insects, beasts, and birds, becomes its spoil;
Their food and their retreat for ever gone,
So much of life and joy is lost. The race
Of man flies far in dread; his work and dwell-


Vanish, like smoke before the tempest's stream, And their place is not known. Below, vast caves Shine in the rushing torrents' restless gleam, Which from those secret chasms in tumult welling

Meet in the vale, and one majestic River,

The breath and blood of distant lands, for ever Rolls its loud waters to the ocean waves, Breathes its swift vapours to the circling air.


Mont Blanc yet gleams on high:

is there,

the power

The still and solemn power of many sights, And many sounds, and much of life and death.

In the calm darkness of the moonless nights, In the lone glare of day, the snows descend Upon that Mountain; none beholds them there,

Nor when the flakes burn in the sinking sun, Or the star-beams dart through them:Winds contend

Silently there, and heap the snow with breath Rapid and strong, but silently! Its home The voiceless lightning in these solitudes Keeps innocently, and like vapour broods Over the snow.

Which governs


The secret strength of things thought, and to the infinite

Of heaven is as a law, inhabits thee!

And what were thou, and earth, and stars, and


If to the human mind's imaginings

Silence and solitude were vacancy?
July 23, 1816.

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HELLEY wrote little during this year. The poem entitled "The Sunset" was written in the spring of the year, while still residing at Bishopgate. He spent the summer on the shores of the Lake of Geneva. "The Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" was conceived during his voyage round the lake with Lord Byron. He occupied himself during this voyage by reading the "Nouvelle Héloïse" for the first time. The reading it on the very spot where the scenes are laid added to the interest; and he was at once surprised and charmed by the passionate eloquence and earnest enthralling interest that pervade this work. There was


something in the character of Saint-Preux, in his abnegation of self, and in the worship he paid to Love, that coincided with Shelley's own disposition; and, though differing in many of the views and shocked by others, yet the effect of the whole was fascinating and delightful.

"Mont Blanc" was inspired by a view of that mountain and its surrounding peaks and valleys, as he lingered on the Bridge of Arve on his way through the Valley of Chamouni. Shelley makes the following mention of this poem in his publication of the "History of Six Weeks' Tour, and Letters from Switzerland:" "The poem entitled 'Mont Blanc' is written by the author of the two letters from Chamouni and Vevai. It was composed under the immediate impression of the deep and powerful feelings excited by the objects which it attempts to describe; and, as an undisciplined overflowing of the soul, rests its claim to approbation on an attempt to imitate the untamable wildness and inaccessible solemnity from which those feelings sprang."

This was an eventful year, and less time was given to study than usual. In the list of his

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